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Pondering Like our Lady

A sweet Feast that I always look forward to in the heat of the summer is the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, which always falls on the day after the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Many feasts of Our Lady celebrate events in her life: her Immaculate Conception, her Nativity, the Annunciation, Visitation, and Assumption, to name a few. But why do we have a Feast Day devoted solely to her Immaculate Heart?

The Catechism tells us, The heart is the dwelling-place where I am, where I live…The heart is our hidden center, beyond the grasp of our reason and of others; only the Spirit of God can fathom the human heart and know it fully. The heart is the place of decision, deeper than our psychic drives…It is the place of encounter, because as image of God we live in relation: it is the place of covenant.” (CCC 2563)

The Immaculate Heart of Mary is the place of Our Lady’s interior life. Her heart is the place where she pondered the Word of God, where she made decisions in the home of Nazareth, where she lived her covenant relationship with God. At Mass on this Feast Day, we will hear from the Gospel of Luke:

“And His mother said to Him, “Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, Your father and I have been looking for You anxiously”. And He said to them, “How is it that you sought Me? Did you not know that I must be in My Father’s house?” And they did not understand the saying which He spoke to them. And He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them; and His mother kept all these things in her heart.” (Luke 2:48-51)

When Mary didn’t understand what Jesus was saying to her, she pondered the saying in her heart. So too, in the journey of discernment, we may not understand right away what Jesus is saying to us. This is when it becomes important to withdraw to the silence of our hearts, where we can ponder, like Our Lady, what He is speaking to us.

Recently, while I was on retreat, a wise priest-friend of our community told me that while we see women following Jesus in the Gospels, we never see him call them in an exterior way as He did with the Apostles to “Come, follow me.” Matthew 4:19. Rather, they must have been prompted by an interior call to follow the Lord – an aspect that seems particularly feminine and Marian.

The invitation to our vocation first and foremost is initiated by the Lord, and it is experienced and received in the depths of our heart, the place beyond the grasp of our reason and of others. The question of where we are being called to love and to be loved goes deeper than anything our minds can fathom or figure out, but it is ultimately a question to be pondered in our hearts.

As we enter into these summer months, let us ask Our Lady to help us to ponder what the Lord is doing in the depths of our hearts. May the Immaculate Heart of Mary intercede for us, that we may become more conformed to the image of her Son.

The Sisters of Life Vocation Team

Sr. Maria Regina, Sr. Cora, Sr. Mary Hannah

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